Encyclopedia > Politics of Turkmenistan

  Article Content

Politics of Turkmenistan

Following the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union, Turkmenistan declared its independence on October 27, 1991. Saparmurat Niyazov became the first president of the new republic and still remains the supreme decisionmaker. On December 28, 1999, Niyazov's term was extended indefinitely by the Mejlis (parliament), which itself had taken office only a week earlier in severely flawed elections that included only candidates hand-picked by President Niyazov. Independent political activity is not allowed in Turkmenistan, and no opposition candidates were allowed. The Democratic Party of Turkmenistan[?] (DPT) is the only legal political party. Political gatherings are illegal unless government sanctioned, and the citizens of Turkmenistan do not have the means to change their government democratically.

While the constitution provides for freedom of the press, there is virtually no freedom of the press or of association; the government has full control of all media. Only two newspapers, Adalat and Galkynysh, are nominally independent, and they were created by presidential decree. Cable TV, which existed in the late 1980s, has been shut down.

The population is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim. Activities of all but the official Russian Orthodox and Sunni Muslim faiths are severely limited. The persecution of minority religious faiths is common, with particularly severe measures directed toward Baptists, Pentecostalists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Hare Krinsha, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Baha'i. Many places of worship have been destroyed and practitioners of minority faiths harassed, imprisoned, and/or tortured. Religious congregations are required to register with the government, and individual parishes must have at least 500 members to register.

A Soviet-style command economy greatly limits equality of opportunity. Industry and services are almost entirely provided by government or government-owned entities, while agriculture is dominated by a state order system. Women face particularly strong discrimination in all social aspects, and their freedom is restricted due to traditional social-religious norms. All citizens are required to carry internal passports, noting place of residence, and movement into and out of the country, as well as within its borders, is difficult.

Corruption continues to be pervasive. Power is concentrated in the president; the judiciary is wholly subservient to the regime, with all judges appointed for 5-year terms by the president without legislative review. Little has been done to prosecute corrupt officials.

Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Turkmenistan
local long form: none
local short form: Turkmenistan
former: Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic

Data code: TX

Government type: republic

Capital: Ashgabat

Administrative divisions:

Turkmenistan is divided into 5 welayatlar (singular - welayat):

Ahal Welayaty[?] (Ashgabat), Balkan Welayaty[?] (Nebitdag[?]), Dashhowuz Welayaty[?] (formerly Tashauz[?]), Lebap Welayaty[?] (Charjew[?]), Mary Welayaty[?]

Note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)

Independence: October 27, 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

National holiday: Independence Day, October 27 (1991)

Constitution: adopted 18 May 1992

Legal system: based on civil law system

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President and Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Saparmurat Niyazov (since 27 October 1990, when the first direct presidential election occurred); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President and Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Saparmurat Niyazov (since 27 October 1990, when the first direct presidential election occurred); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
note: Niyazov's term in office was extended indefinitely on 28 December 1999 by the Assembly (Majlis) during a session of the People's Council (Halk Maslahaty)
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 21 June 1992 (next scheduled to be held NA); note - President NIYAZOV was unanimously approved as president for life by the Assembly on 28 December 1999); deputy chairmen of the cabinet of ministers are appointed by the president
election results: Saparmurat Niyazov elected president without opposition; percent of vote - Saparmurat NIYAZOV 99.5%

Legislative branch: under the 1992 constitution, there are two parliamentary bodies, a unicameral People's Council or Halk Maslahaty (more than 100 seats, some of which are elected by popular vote and some of which are appointed; meets infrequently) and a unicameral Assembly or Majlis (50 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: People's Council - NA; Assembly - last held 12 December 1999 (next to be held NA 2004)
election results: Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; note - all 50 elected officials preapproved by President NIYAZOV; most are from the DPT

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president

Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party of Turkmenistan or DPT Saparmurat Niyazov
note: formal opposition parties are outlawed; unofficial, small opposition movements exist underground or in foreign countries

International organization participation: CCC, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECO[?], ESCAP, FAO, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDB[?], IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP[?], UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Halil UGUR
chancery: 2207 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 588-1500
FAX: [1] (202) 588-0697

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Steven R. Mann
embassy: 9 Pushkin Street, Ashgabat
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [9] (9312) 35-00-45, 35-00-46, 35-00-42, 51-13-06, Tie Line [8] 962-0000
FAX: [9] (9312) 51-13-05

Flag description: green field with a vertical red stripe near the hoist side, containing five carpet guls (designs used in producing rugs) stacked above two crossed olive branches similar to the olive branches on the UN flag; a white crescent moon and five white stars appear in the upper corner of the field just to the fly side of the red stripe

See also : Turkmenistan



All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

 
  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
 
 
  
  Featured Article
Piston

... an Otto or Diesel engine, the concave head of the piston forms one wall of an expansion chamber inside the cylinder. The opposite wall, called the cylinder head, ...